Top 4 Legal To-Dos for Businesses in 2024
HAPPY 2024! A new year means new goals, fresh starts, and a clear vision for the next 365 days ahead.
Except this year, we’ve got one extra day to make all of our dreams come true thanks to the leap year!
If I’m guessing correctly, your vision board is probably full of aesthetic images that perfectly depict how you want your life to look like this year.
And there’s nothing wrong with that! I love a good vision board moment.
Your goal list is probably similar – shiny and new with all the things you hope to achieve.
But with all of those pretty things, I’ve gotta ask you… Do you have any legal to-dos for your business in sight?
If you’re like the majority of people, legal to-do’s are probably the very LAST thing you’re focusing on right now.
And I get it – all of the “boring” businessy things don’t exactly line up with your aesthetic vision, so they likely haven’t been on your mind at all.
But guess what? Certain legal to-do’s could be the very thing that allow you to achieve your shiny business goals and actually let you enjoy them!
On the other hand, if you avoid some of these, you could actually find yourself in major legal trouble and find that your vision board dreams have to wait because you’re forced to deal with things that no one has time for… like spending hours on the phone with the IRS or being served audits for copyright or trademark infringement. 😞
So in 2024, let’s collectively be the business owner that does BOTH – has the aesthetic vision board and shiny new goals along with keeping your business up to date and fresh in the eyes of the legal world.
The way you do it? It’s actually really simple!
Use the checklist below to make sure your business is in tip top shape for the year ahead. ⬇️
4 Legal To-Do’s To Check Off At The Beginning of a New Year
1. LLC Maintenance ⚖️
Remember that thing you created when you first started your business? You know… an LLC? Yeah, well that’s not just something you do once and never look at again!
At the start of every new year, make sure you take time to review your status and are aware if you need to refile, renew, OR elect as something else – such as an S-Corp.
Most of the time, you’ll simply need to refile and you’re typically notified via email when it’s time to do so – but again, stay on top of this and don't rely on the government to let you know these things.
Because spoiler: they don’t care about your business as much as you do.If certain changes have occurred in your business, you may need to renew instead. Common instances for this include:
- Change of location
- Change of name
- Change in ownership structure
- Change in business activities (aka the type of business you’re running / products or services you’re selling)
Lastly, as your business grows, you may find it necessary to elect as a different tax classification which means you would likely move from an LLC to something different, with an S-Corp being the most common switch!
To fully understand when or if you should do this, always have a conversation with your tax advisor FIRST so that they can properly guide you on what to do for your specific business.
2. Contract Refresh 📄
A new year marks a PERFECT time to scan through all of your contract agreements in your business and touch up anything that needs to be updated.
This could include price changes, scope changes, different methods of communication, refund policy, etc.
Ideally, you would be making these updates quarterly (read here for the quarterly contract audit that I recommend), but at the bare minimum this should be done yearly to ensure that your clients and audience are fully aware of your practices and expectations.
3. Intellectual Property (IP) Audit 📝
If 2024 is the year that you’re FINALLY going to file for a trademark, now is the time to make sure you’re maintaining a consistent brand image before doing so.
An IP audit is a systematic review and assessment of your intellectual property assets that helps a business identify, evaluate, and manage its intellectual property portfolio.This typically involves:
- Inventory and Assessment – this includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, domain names, software, licenses, and any other proprietary information
- Evaluation of IP Rights – once all of your IP assets are identified, the audit assesses the scope, validity, and strength of each asset. This involves reviewing the status of registrations, expiration dates, potential infringement risks, and the value of each asset to the business
- Risk Assessment – the audit helps in understanding the risks associated with the intellectual property, such as the possibility of infringement claims, gaps in protection, or weaknesses in IP management processes
- Strategy and Protection – based on the findings, you can then develop strategies for protecting and maximizing the value of your intellectual property. This might involve initiating new filings, updating existing protections, implementing stronger internal IP management practices, or exploring licensing opportunities.
- Legal Compliance – the audit also helps identify areas where your business might be at risk of infringing on others' intellectual property or where it may need to strengthen its own protections
- Business Decision-making – ultimately, the audit's outcomes can strategically guide your overall business decisions
Having a clear picture on your intellectual property assets can make the trademarking process go smoother!
(P.S. If you're ready to trademark and need help getting the process rolling, CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.)
4. Website Checkup 💻
A new year of course brings new changes, which means those changes need to be reflected EVERYWHERE – especially on your website!
A few checklist items to go through include:
✔️ Home Page
There’s 3 main things I want to see in every single website footer:
- AND an updated copyright notice
All of these are simple updates or adds! For the copyright notice, simply update it to acknowledge the new year. It should read:
© [INSERT FIRST YEAR OF PUBLICATION] – [INSERT CURRENT YEAR] [INSERT LEGAL BUSINESS NAME].
Just like you set the rules for how you work with your clients, you also get to set the rules for how people use your site and your course, more specifically.
YOU get to call the shots and when you have this agreement in place, if anyone crosses those boundaries, you can actually do something about it when necessary.
✔️ Sales Pages – are you using FTC compliant sales copy on your sales pages? If not, it’s time to do so! Click here for the full rundown on what that means and how to do it.
✔️ Services Page – offering something new this year? Retiring an offer? Make sure your services page reflects those changes so that your audience always knows how they work with you!
✔️ Blog – if you’re using affiliate links in any of your blog posts, make sure that you’re using disclaimers for audience transparency! Failing to do so could actually cause your passive income to cost you big time.
“Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links in this [post/page] are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and helps to support my business. Please note that I only recommend products and services that I personally use and trust. I will always disclose when a link is an affiliate link, and I never recommend a product or service solely for the purpose of earning a commission.”
Your 2024 Legal Business Bestie
And there ya have it – the easy, peasy yearly legal to-do list for your business to ensure that your business is legally compliant so you can spend more time focusing on that aesthetic vision board and your shiny new goals! ✨
As you navigate the new year, follow along for any and all legal reminders and education to maintain these to-do’s every step of the way.
If you’re in need of more legal help in 2024, there’s a few ways I can help:
- Contracts – need custom contracts for your business? I’ve got you! Need a few contract templates for your business? I’ve got those too. Click here to shop The Boutique Lawyer Contract Shop for all your needs.
- Trademarking – ready to legally protect your business with a trademark? Click here to start the process with a consultation!
- Membership – ready to build the brand of your dreams on a solid legal foundation without always wondering, “is this the right way to [insert every little move you make]?” That’s what the Business to Brand Membership is all about!
- Free Resources – simply looking to finetune your legal business knowledge? I’ve got LOTS where that came from! Binge the blog or download a free resource to get all the information and education you need (I do my best to make the “boring” stuff not so boring 💁🏻♀️).